Lawmaker positive Calbayog mayor’s slay would be resolved

Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino


TACLOBAN CITY –– A lawmaker expressed confidence that the slay of Calbayog City mayor Ronaldo Aquino last March 2021 would be resolved after the admission of a police officer about how some policemen and a disgruntled politician concocted stories against the victim.

Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento of Samar’s first district said Master Sgt. Jose Jay Senario’s narrative during a Senate investigation would help investigators identify the persons behind the killing of Aquino.


“I don’t know him (Senario) personally and I don’t intend to know him to avoid any (speculation). But he (Senario) deserves to be commended because his action will help the Philippine National Police (recover its bad image),” he said in a phone interview.

In last Wednesday’s Senate hearing, Sarmiento said it was established that Aquino was not killed in a shootout as claimed by some policemen. He was slain in an ambush.

Sarmiento, a political ally and close friend of the mayor, has been pushing for an investigation on the killing of Aquino, saying that the local chief executive was murdered at the hands of police personnel, particularly the members of the Samar Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) and the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group.

In his Senate testimony, Senario, an intelligence operative in Calbayog, said he, together with other police officers and a “disgruntled politician,” invented stories to support their claim that Aquino was involved in the illegal drugs trade and that a search warrant would be issued against the slain mayor.

While he did not identify the politician, Senario claimed to have received P50,000 as a reward from Raymondo Uy, who ran but lost to Aquino in the 2019 mayoral race.

Senario did not directly link Uy to Aquino’s killing.

The Inquirer tried to get Uy’s statement but did not receive a response as of Thursday afternoon.

Despite the alleged involvement of some police personnel in Aquino’s murder, Sarmiento said he still had high regard for the police organization.

The Inquirer also sought the reaction of the Samar police but was told that they would release a statement regarding the issue in the coming days.


Senario was presented as a “confidential witness” of Aquino’s family at Wednesday’s hearing presided by Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

Aquino, 59, who was serving his last term as mayor of Calbayog, was on his way on March 9 to the birthday party of his son Mark when his vehicle was fired upon in Barangay Lanoy.

Also killed were his police escort, Staff Sgt. Rodelio Sario, and his driver.

Also killed were PDEU operatives Capt. Joselito Tabada and Staff Sgt. Romeo Laoyon. A stray bullet hit a civilian as his car was cruising in the area.


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